Q:So why have I titled this post Food Principles that I try to live by?
I have to confess I have been a bit of a food “rules” junkie in my earlier years. I believed that if I could just follow a set of rules of what to eat, how to eat, when to eat, that somehow all my health issues would go away or at the very least bring me some comfort. I was also slightly addicted to following diets or lifestyle eating plans. The Macrobiotic diet, the Atkins diet, Louise Hay, Watermelon fasting, fasting in general, etc etc. It’s only been in the last 4 years that I’ve gradually been able to let go of having to stick to rules and actually realise that food is not something that has to have control over me or that should be bowed down to.
A:In saying all of that, I have found that there have been food principles that I’ve needed to apply in order to achieve wellness in my body.
NB: I’ve use the word “principle” rather than “rules” (even though the two words have very similar meanings)simply because the word “rules” screams at me “You must obey me, or else!”
A few years ago I followed the Body Ecology Diet (BED) in order to recover from Candidiasis. While initially it looked like another set of rules I realised that these principles had some life saving and long term benefits to them. The difference between principles and rules in my mind, is that one is expansive and the other is limited or narrow.
I think where it gets tricky is when you allow yourself to become too fearful or stressed about what you are eating or not eating. One of the best pieces of information that was given to me when I started on the BED was to not stress about it too much. The stress in itself will cause ill health and particularly candidiasis symptoms to increase.
Basically these are the ways that I have adapted to over the last 4-5 years and are seeing the benefits of.
1.I eat when I’m hungry – which these days starts with breakfast anywhere from 9.30 – 11.30 in the morning. I was never a late breakfast eater. In fact all my life up until the last few years, my feet would hit the floor and I would need food within 30 minutes. Maybe over the many years of homeschooling where our schedule is less demanding I have adapted to later starts in the morning but I think it also has a lot to do with metabolism. Lunch is whenever I feel hungry again. I have older children now that don’t need my help to get their lunch ready so I’m free to eat when I want. Dinner is the only meal that I like to serve roughly at the same time every night, which is between 6.30 and 7.00 pm. I like to be finished eating for the day roughly around 7.30 pm and I don’t want to be cleaning up my kitchen into the late hours of the evening.
2.I eat according to health – This can sound really boring but there are many food choices that we can make that will either help or hinder our health. I eat what works for me ie:I eat very few grains Quinoa being the only one at the moment and only every now and then. I occasionally eat potatoes and corn. I mainly eat protein, some dairy and lots of vegetables (especially green ones). My fruit intake is limited to 1 maybe 2 small pieces a day although I very rarely eat it on a daily basis. After taking fruit out of my breakfast I noticed that my blood sugar was no longer dropping and the slight bit of nausea had gone completely. I am convinced that fructose has a bit to answer for. Even though my cravings weren’t massive I realised that they too had completely disappeared. And of course I have a big helping of healthy saturated fats and oils from coconut oil, avocado, nuts and butter.
3.I eat until I’m full. I don’t count calories. I have done in the past and I can get seriously addicted to it. There is something about seeing all those numbers crunching that seems to give some sense of achievement but again it’s one of those things that I can become a slave to (a bit like weight scales). I measure food by the 80/20 principle. Using a dinner plate I visualise the plate divided into 80% and 20%. The 80% is filled with vegetables and the 20% is filled with protein or carbs.
4.I eat lots of fermented foods. This was a real eye-opener for me. When I started on BED the only fermented vegetables I was familiar with was Sauerkraut, which I’m thinking most white aussies would say as well. So it was with great relief that after making my first batch I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed the flavour. Now I have expanded my pantry and fridge to include creme fraiche, cream cheese and activated nuts.
5.I make from scratch rather than buy from the shop. I’m talking about sauces, dressings, marinades, curry pastes as well as skin care, some hair care and body care treatments and creams. Even my own toothpaste! I am fortunate that I’m at home a lot because of homeschooling so I have the time to make things from scratch. But if for some reason I enter back into the work force I’m not sure I would change much of this principle. The fact is I hate excess packaging and I hate products that are affordable but are made with rubbish ingredients. I am personally addicted to my own cooking!! I very rarely eat out because I always feel so unsatisfied both with the taste and often the service and the fact that it cost me money!! (It doesn’t help when one has worked in the food industry for 29 years).
6.Allow myself freedom. This is my personal challenge to let go of any food rules that might be lurking in my head. Food is definitely mean’t to be enjoyed and there is always going to be a day here and there that I either find myself at an event or what I fondly call “falling off the perch”, which simply means that I eat foods that I wouldn’t normally eat. I usually allow 1 day a week where I will eat more of something that I don’t eat often. Usually it’s a grain or a baked product made with honey or sugar. But it could be anything like more dairy or just more food. Yes, I usually don’t feel the best the next day but it’s not enough to throw my system too much.
7.And finally – I stay mindful of the journey that I’ve travelled and of the one that’s up ahead. While I can’t fix the past and do not want to live there, I also can’t predict the future but I can be fully in this day and what I do today will count for all the tomorrow’s still to come.
I’d like to mention at this point the place that spirituality has had on this journey for me. I am a christian and this site, my posts and articles would not be possible unless I believed that God had the reigns. So it is with my recovery and the road to health. It has been fuelled as much by His grace and peace as it is by me being mindful of the direction that He has pointed me in and the resources that have come my way. For that I am very thankful.